His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. -Matthew 5:1
How Jesus Loved People
Jesus loved people by teaching and training them how to follow God. Jesus loved people by making them into His disciples.
How to Love Like Jesus
It was in the wee hours of the morning, at the fire department, when I responded to a house fire along with three engines and a truck company. When we arrived we quickly realized it was the same house that had burned in the wee hours the morning before. We were sure we had put it out completely the first time, yet here we were again.
There was no time to dwell on the cause of our repeat performance, we had a fire to put out. So we set about our business. But as we progressed, I began to hear someone yelling over a loudspeaker. Eventually I figured out it was coming from a car dealership across the street. A man who appeared to be inebriated was yelling obscenities at us. He was bashing the fire department for not putting the fire out completely the first time.
Between the amplified voice of the man screaming obscenities and the flames from the burning house against the black sky, it was like a scene from hell. Within a few minutes three television stations showed up. All three thrust their microphones in my face and said, “What’s going on with the guy on the loud speaker screaming obscenities about the fire department?”
It was a fun night.
It was also a night that changed the way I ran fires. From that point on, anytime I left a fire scene, I gave very careful instructions to the crews I left behind concerning how they were to ensure the fire was out–completely.
The instructions given before a separation are often of a critical nature. Before what was perhaps the most profound separation in history, before Jesus left His disciples and ascended into heaven, He gave these instructions:
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” -Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20)
Francis Chan was right when he said we often dance around Christ’s instructions. We might memorize His instructions. We might learn their meaning in the Greek. We have Bible studies to see what it might look like if we did follow Jesus’ instructions. But so often we don’t actually do what He instructed us to do. (see Chan’s video: How Not to Make Disciples)
But Jesus said, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” -Jesus Christ (Matthew 14:23-24)
I don’t know about you but I want Jesus and the Father to come to me, and make their home with me. So, though I’m not particularly good at it, I’ll make disciples of Christ, as best I can. (see 1 Thessalonians 5:24)
Jesus loved people by discipling them.
You and I can too.
[Image via: MBK (Marjie) Creative Commons]
A real challenge here, Kurt, both from you and Francis Chan. It’s amazing how often God speaks to us through unlikely, unlooked for and often unwanted sources as He did with the man yelling obscenities at you for not having completely put out the fire the first time. Whatever it takes, God will get our attention back to what’s really important!
Discipling is a vital issue that isn’t always accounted for. Sadly, it can be overlooked in the necessarily urgent drive to evangelise. However, we can be in danger of leading people to the first step of faith and leaving them high and dry afterwards, without a good foundation for growing and developing as believers.
Making disciples will involve coming alongside, mentoring, supporting and encouraging others in their individual walk with God. We are all the richer for it. Thank you, Kurt, for this timely reminder.
PS: Didn’t know you were a Fire Chief! Interesting what one learns from blogs 🙂
“Coming alongside, mentoring, supporting, and encouraging others in their individual walk with God.”
Great description of discipling Joy! Thanks for your comment.
I love the Francis Chan videos which you just introduced me to! He was obedient to leave his congregation and follow Messiah’s leading. The way Francis uses simple, common sense, even comical messages to convey a major principle of the Holy Word is mind blowing. Simple, but profound.
Yes, Kurt, we don’t actually do what He instructed us to do. Why is that? We were not left as orphans; we have the power of the Holy Spirit afterall, thus we are capable of making sound decisions and to act upon them.
If we are to obey everything Yeshua/Jesus has commanded us, should we not put our noses in the Book from cover to cover to uncover His commands–to see what we should be doing? Even Chan knows this is what is lacking.
After all He, the Son of Righteousness, was from the beginning and with Him there is no end. Sometimes we forget–He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and Malachi 3:6 says He doesn’t change. Yet we want to change with the times and keep up with the trends and the friends.
Since His commandments were introduced in Exodus 20 to Moses for Yehovah’s people who left Egypt with a mixed multitude, a good question to ask ourselves is “have I truly left Egypt (a type of the worldly pagan mindset), or do I still act like an Egyptian?” Consider what and who the Egyptians worshipped for comparison sake.
To my shame, it took my granddaughter memorizing the Ten Commandments for me to realize I, myself, didn’t know them by memorization. But, I do now!
Then He gave them statutes and right rulings for community living so that we please God by loving Him and our neighbor. How can we obey everything He has commanded us if we have a pick and choose mentality? There are more instructions on loving God and neighbor which need to be searched out.
Kudos to Francis and to all brothers and sisters who ask, seek, and knock to discover all that He has commanded and relinquish our Egyptian ways to conform to His ways. “Shema” means hear and obey (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) what Messiah did when He walked upon our soil while training His disciples, yet let’s not forget He started Boot Camp in the Sinai wilderness, and we know what happened to the disobedient assembly there, or do we?! (Hebrews 12:7)
Amazingly, the Boot Campers said they would obey BEFORE they even heard the letter of Torah (instructions) and before seeing them written on tablets of stone. Now rather than tablets of stone, they are in tablets of hearts that are flesh by the Spirit that gives life. We still need both to be effective in God’s Kingdom. The letter (instructions) by itself cannot bring life; it is like a sperm without an egg. The egg is as the Spirit that gives life, bringing new birth, for the egg without the sperm will die off. They work together!
Since a child isn’t supposed to train up the parent in the way he should go, discipleship starts with one BEING an obedient disciple himself whose goal is always maturity in the faith, growing up into the full stature of Messiah. (Ephesians 4:13)
It isn’t as difficult as it sounds. We can do all things through Messiah who strengthens us. (Philippians 4:13)
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